Saturday, May 25, 2024

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone has been cleared to practice after suffering lacerated spleen


Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone has been cleared to practice after suffering a lacerated spleen earlier this season, according to an announcement from the team. Stone is participating in Friday’s morning skate with the Golden Knights and will wear a non-contact jersey. 

Stone has been out of the lineup since he suffered a lacerated spleen as a result of a hit during the second period of the Feb. 20 game against the Nashville Predators. At the time of Stone’s injury, Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon didn’t offer a timetable for Stone’s return to the ice.

The Vegas captain registered 53 points (16 goals & 37 assists) in 56 games before the injury. 

“Our goal right now is to get in to see if we can get a healthy lineup dressed,” Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said on Wednesday. “That’s still a big question mark with a number of different guys, that I can’t give you answers to when they’ll be ready to go. That’s what our team is looking at right now. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. If we find our way in [to the playoffs], we’ll be seeded where we end up seeded and then if you can get a few healthy bodies back, it might bring sort of, ‘The band’s back together’ mentality from last year. I think that’s what’s given us motivation.”

The Golden Knights dealt with a similar situation heading into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Stone had suffered a back injury in February 2023, but ended up returning for the team’s opening-round series against the Winnipeg Jets

En route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, Stone finished third on the team in points (24) behind only Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault and Jack Eichel. In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, Stone registered a hat trick and became only the third NHL player to ever do so in a Stanley Cup-clinching situation.

If Stone returns for the postseason, it’ll be a huge addition for a Vegas team that is currently battling for its playoff lives. The Golden Knights will clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday, and a St. Louis Blues to the Carolina Hurricanes.

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